Sona Rajakumari, PhD

Scientist C


sona rajakumari
sona rajakumari

Sona Rajakumari, PhD

Scientist C


  • Profile

    • PhD in Lipid Biochemistry from Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
    • MSc in Integrated Biology from Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India
    • BSc in Botany (Specialization – Industrial Microbiology) from Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India
    • June 2015-till date: Scientist C, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Trivandrum, India
    • 2010-2015: Post-doctoral fellow at Perelman School of Medicine, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
    • 2010-2010: Post-doctoral Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA
    • 2003-2006: Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
    • Awarded Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship (2014) by the Ministry of Department of Biotechnology, India
    • Outstanding Basic Research Poster award at the 2013 Spring Symposium and Kroc lecture, University of Pennsylvania
    • BBA young speaker award by the award committee of the 50th International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids (ICBL), Regensburg, Germany, 2009
    • Austrian PhD fellowship from 2006-2009 by Austrian Government
    • Awarded Merit scholarship from 2001-2003 by State Govt. of Tamil Nadu, India
  • Research

    Our research is focussed on the regulation of fat tissue development, function and energy homeostasis. In mammals, adipocytes play a vital role in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism. In general, white adipocytes store excess nutritional energy in the form triacylglycerols and provide fatty acids for energy when needed (e.g. exercise, fasting). On the other hand, brown adipocytes burn excess calories as heat by uncoupling fuel (fat and carbohydrate) oxidation from ATP production. In addition, several studies have documented the capacity for cells in white fat depots to acquire features of brown fat in response to various stimuli and these specialized cells are referred as beige or brite fat cells. However, the molecules or metabolites and signalling pathways that regulate brite and/or brown fat activity prior to or during adipogenesis remain largely unknown. Specifically, the major focus of our research group is to

    • Identify and elucidate the lipid signalling pathways that control brown fat development and function
    • Study the role of physiological cues such as age and obesity on adipose stem cell maintenance or its efficiency

    In mice, increased brown/brite fat activity is associated with protection against obesity and associated metabolic diseases. Thus, manipulating the pathways that regulate brite and/or brown fat function could provide new therapeutic avenues to combat metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes.

  • Publications

    1. Harms MJ, Lim HW, Ho Y, Shapira SN, Ishibashi J, Rajakumari S, Steger DJ, Lazar MA, Won KJ, Seale P. (2015) PRDM16 binds MED1 and controls chromatin architecture to determine a brown fat transcriptional program. Genes Dev. 29(3):298-307.
    2. Wang W, Megan K, Rajakumari S, Huang L, Lim HW, Won KJ, Kablar B, Qian H, and Seale P. (2014) Ebf2 expression identifies brown adipose precursors in the somitic mesoderm. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111(40):14466-71.
    3. Rajakumari S, Wu J, Ishibashi J, Lim HW, Giang AH, Won KJ, Reed RR, and Seale P. (2013) EBF2 Determines and Maintains Brown Adipocyte Identity. Cell Metab. 17(4):562-574.
    4. Ishibashi J, Firtina Z, Rajakumari S, Wood KH, Conroe HM, Steger DJ, Seale P. (2011) An Evi1-C/EBPβ Complex Controls Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ2 Gene Expression To Initiate White Fat Cell Differentiation. Mol Cell Biol. 32(12):2289-99.
    5. Parthibane V, Rajakumari S, Venkateshwari V, Iyappan R, Rajasekharan R. (2011) Oleosin is a bifunctional enzyme that has both monoacylglycerol acyltransferase and phospholipase activities. J Biol Chem. 287(3):1946-54.
    6. Rajakumari S, Rajasekharan R, and Daum G. (2010) Triacylglycerol Lipolysis is linked to Sphingolipid and Phospholipid Metabolism of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biochim Biophys Acta 1801(12):1314-22.
    7. Rajakumari S, and Daum G. (2010) Multiple functions as lipase, steryl ester hydrolase, phospholipase and acyltransferase of Tgl4p from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
      J Biol Chem. 285(21):15769-76.
    8. Rajakumari S, and Daum G. (2010) Janus-faced enzymes yeast Tgl3p and Tgl5p catalyze lipase and acyltransferase reactions. Mol Biol Cell. 21(4):501-510.
    9. Ghosh AK, Chauhan N, Rajakumari S, Daum G, and Rajasekharan R. (2009) At4g24160, A Cytosolic Lysophosphatidic Acid Acyltransferase with Phospholipase and Lipase Functions. Plant Physiol. 151(2):869-881.
    10. Rajakumari S, Grillitsch K, Daum G. (2008) Synthesis and turnover of non-polar lipids in yeast. Prog Lipid Res. 47(3):157-171.
    11. Srinivas M, Rajakumari S, Narayana Y, Joshi B, Katoch VM, Rajasekharan R, Balaji KN. (2008) Functional characterization of the phospholipase C activity of Rv3487c and its localization on the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Biosci. 33(2):221-230.
    12. Rajakumari S, Srinivasan M, and Rajasekharan R. (2006) Spectrophotometric Method for Quantitative Determination of Detergents in Aqueous Solutions. J. Biochem Biophys Methods 68(2):133–137.
    13. Saha S, Enugutti B, Rajakumari S, and Rajasekharan R. (2006) Cytosolic Triacylglycerol Biosynthetic Pathway in Plants: Molecular Cloning and Expression of Peanut Cytosolic Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase. Plant Physiol. 141(4):1533-43.
  • Team

  • Alumni